I’m currently suffering from a weeklong bout of whatever freak amoeba is scavenging the campus. My throat is swollen, I can hardly speak in my own dialect let alone the Minnesota, Texan, and Brooklyn accents the always wonderful Matthew Ploch wants out of me. So what’s my objective? (Pun alert, watch out.) To stay healthy, here is my 7 step survival kit for cold and flu season. Helpful for all majors, but with a special concentration in throat-coating, voice saving secrets courtesy of my mother and my own meandering college experiences.
1. As any doctor will tell you, vitamins are important. Hate horse pills? Constantly forgetting to take them? My most entertaining and honest recommendation would be switching to gummy vitamins. One-A-Day provides the adult version, but my preference is still in the classic Flinstones brand or L’il Critters Gummie Bear Vitamins. More good news: the directions say take two, but as an adult you can take FOUR. All the rebellion of overdosing on something in college without the death. The results of that last statement may vary, actually.
2. Find excuses to drink lemonade. As college students, the majority of us will find ourselves downing little more than soda and coffee. Dehydration leads to malnutrition, malnutrition leads to sickness. I personally hate nothing more than drinking water for recreation, and lemonade is both water based and loaded in Vitamin C. I suggest making it yourself, but if you’re busy, search out the natural, healthy stuff in your local supermarket.
3. Oftentimes, you’re bound to get the sore throat that laughs in the faces of Tylenol, Advil and Motrin. So, what now? The answer is Zicam, the product that claims to cut your sick time in half. I was skeptical, but it was the greatest $4.95 risk I have ever taken. Zicam is loaded with Zinc, an immune system supporter most people forget about. By boosting your Zinc levels ten times over, you’ll blow through that cold or flu in half the time. If your throat’s killing you, cut to the chase and buy the spray version.
4. Mucus? Lose it ASAP. I know too many people who snort loud enough to make an entire room dry heave, and then swallow. All of that is collected bacteria, if you’re keeping it in your system, you’re making it harder on yourself. Invest in a box of Puffs Plus and check this: Cheat on your diet and increase your oil, grease and butter intake. I’m first generation Polish and Ukranian, growing up, my mother would literally melt butter into my milk and coffee. Gross, probably, but I’m allergic to Mucinex and it takes forever to work anyway. Eat everything your figure would never allow, it loosens all the grossness that’s keeping you sick.
5. Onion and sugar home remedy. If you soak diced onions in sugar, they will caramelize into a foolproof treatment for any dry cough/sore throat combination. Another mad method I resented heavily growing up, but continue to this day. I get ear and throat infections like clockwork all winter long, and this is ideal for when I just can’t afford losing my voice.
6. Learn the difference between a hot cold and cold cold. If you’re treating a cold cold with some nonsense method involving ice cream when you should be sweating it out with a bowl of satan hot soup and Vicks Vapor Rub, you’re in trouble. When in doubt, cold is rarely the answer unless you just got your tonsils out.
7. Invest in a humidifier, or try the even more badass and effective method my mother put me through. Heat a pot of water to boil, fill it with salt, then cover your head and the pot with a towel, and breathe in until you absolutely cannot stand it anymore. Sinus trouble? What sinus trouble? Also, extended hot showers or baths work wonders for colds and bad moods.